Grills are markers of excellence in hip hop culture. Wall, along with other artists, wear them to add to the rag-to-riches rap aesthetic that shows off wealth after times of financial struggle. The flashy accessory is very expensive, gives teeth a literal shine and denotes social status. Other items like dope sneakers, designer digs and gold and platinum chains send similar messages.
Flavor Flav and Slick Rick weren't the first to bedazzle their teeth. According to Vice's "The Ancient History Of Grills," it's believed that the studded jewelry popped up back in 800 B.C. with wealthy Etruscan women.
In more recent times, Nelly's 2005 smash hit, "Grillz," which features Wall, reeled in the world's attention to gleaming teeth and all of the sudden, dental bling bling wasn't a trend exclusive to rappers. Kim Kardashian, Ryan Lochte and others participated in the colorful frenzy. (Wall actually made Lochte's pair.) In some grill-bearing instances, like Miley Cyrus wearing one in her 2013 music video for "We Can't Stop," the ongoing conversation about cultural appropriation debated what it means to wear grills in pop culture today.
Wall made and sold the product as he lays out in his famous line from "Grillz": "Call me George Foreman cause I'm selling everybody grillz." So, we're wishing the rapper the happiest of birthdays with a list of artists who pull off the accessory best.
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